How to Write an Advance Directive

An advance directive is a document that you can fill out as part of your estate planning process. This document will allow you to determine in advance what types of medical treatments you would like to have if your life is in danger. By writing an advance directive, you can deal with many of the situations that people have to deal with every day before they occur. This will eliminate any ambiguity when it comes to your final wishes. Here are the basics of how to effectively write an advance directive.

Choose a Type of Advance Directive

The first thing that you will have to do is choose the type of advance directive that you want to use. You could choose between a living will or a medical power of attorney. If you choose a living will, you will be the one in charge of making the medical decisions for yourself. You will specify what should happen in a number of different scenarios.

If you choose a medical power of attorney, you will essentially be giving power to someone else to make decisions for you if you are not capable of doing so. This method is used by individuals that do not necessarily want to have to make their own decisions in advance. If they are incapacitated for any reason, their doctors will turn to their medical proxies to make their decisions for them.

Get the Appropriate Forms

When it is time to write your advance directive, you need to get the appropriate forms for the job. Each state will have different forms that need to be used for this project. If you do not get the appropriate forms for the advance directive, it may become invalid. 

Fill out the Forms

Depending on what type of advance directive you choose, you need to fill out the appropriate form. There will be a number of areas about which you have to provide information on the form. For example, if you choose to utilize a medical power of attorney, you will need to choose your health care agent. When doing this, you need to be sure to choose someone who will make the best decisions for you. Choose someone that is close to you and cares about you. 

You have to fill out these forms in the presence of witnesses. You may want to do so with the help of your estate planning attorney. She will be able to help you fill out the forms thoroughly and avoid making any mistakes during the process.

While filling out your forms, you need to spend a lot of time thinking about each possible scenario. Think about what types of treatments you may want to receive and what types of treatments you may not care for. If you are married, you should talk about these decisions with your spouse. Once you make a decision on each scenario, list it on the form accordingly.

Distribute Forms

Once you have filled out the forms, you need to give copies to your doctor and health care agent. You should also give a copy to members of your family.

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